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Learning English - Words in the News
04 June, 2007 - Published 13:57 GMT
Moscow threatens to aim missiles at Europe
Vladimir Putin

In an interview ahead of this week's G8 summit, President Putin has threatened to point Russian missiles towards Europe for the first time since the end of the Cold War, if the United States builds a defence shield in Eastern Europe. This report from Rupert Wingfield-Hayes:

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If President Putin's words are anything to go by, it looks like being a pretty stormy G8 summit in Germany this week. First up was the United States: Mr Putin poured scorn on its plans to build a new missile shield in Eastern Europe. If it goes ahead, Russia would, he said, be forced to respond by pointing its own missiles at European targets. It would be the first time since the end of the Cold War that Europe has been directly targeted by Russian nuclear missiles.

He then went on to accuse the West of hypocrisy in criticising Russia's human rights record. Responding to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said the United States is the main violator of freedoms and human rights around the world and he added that France, Germany and Britain have problems of their own.

Finally he accused Britain of foolishness in trying to extradite a former KGB officer for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. President Putin said Britain knew Russia's constitution prohibits such an extradition. By pushing ahead, he said, Britain was engaging in PR and politics, and any way you look at it, it's pure foolishness.

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC News, Moscow

Listen to the words

anything to go by
to be believed, to be taken seriously

full of angry feeling and conflict

First up
here, first to be criticised

poured scorn on
showed contempt for, harshly criticised

when someone says they have certain principles or beliefs, while their actions show they don't really have them

someone who ignores and acts against a law or agreement

to extradite
to hand over a person accused of a crime to the country where the crime was committed

bans, doesn't allow

pushing ahead
stubbornly trying to achieve the desired result

any way you look at it
whatever aspect of this situation you consider

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